The Post-COVID Interdisciplinary Clinical Care Network (PC-ICCN) will be transitioning from a hybrid model to a fully virtual clinic beginning in April.
On April 1, four clinics across B.C. will be consolidated into one province-wide virtual clinic, including the clinic at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital, which opened in April 2022.
Post-COVID condition - or long COVID - occurs in around 10 to 20 per cent of adults who had COVID-19 and symptoms can range from fatigue and shortness of breath to cognitive problems and mental health issues, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO defines post-COVID as the “continuation or development of new symptoms three months after the initial SARS-CoV02 infection,” that last for two or more months.
Since May 2021, there were 80-90 per cent fewer referrals to the PC-ICCN and there are 1,500 patients across the province at this time, according to the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA).
“The operational change is also a reflection of engagement with patients and clinicians,” PHSA said. “Clinicians came to the Network with a recommendation – that services can best be delivered by the Network virtually.”
As the number of referrals have been decreasing consistently over time, PHSA said the new model will better reflect patient needs, many of whom are already accessing services through the clinics online.
“Considering the majority of patients are already accessing clinical care virtually, they will likely see their services continue online without substantial change,” PHSA said.
PC-ICCN will continue to accept new patients with referrals and clinic staff will facilitate connection with a physician, if needed.